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Saudi Golf League: Phil Mickelson's stance is 'confusing' and 'doesn't make sense', says Rich Beem

Phil Mickelson has said that he is using interest in the Saudi Golf League to try and "leverage" the PGA Tour and take advantage of a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the tour"; Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are among top players to have spoken out against the league

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Rich Beem says that Phil Mickelson's attempts to change the PGA Tour by considering the proposed Saudi tour don't make sense

Former PGA champion Rich Beem says Phil Mickelson's latest comments about the Saudi Golf League are "confusing" and that he is going to lose support in the locker room and make enemies if he continues down the same path...

I found it really interesting what Phil Mickelson reportedly said, basically calling out Saudi Arabia and saying it's sports-washing, and then saying that I am really doing this in order to leverage what we can do better on the PGA Tour.

Why go about this in a completely roundabout way and make it so controversial? Why not rally the players, explain to every player how the media rights work on the PGA Tour and the other monies you can get from owning your own social media rights and rally together as a unit rather than going to Saudi Arabia and causing all this? It doesn't make sense to me.

What has Mickelson said?

Six-time major champion Mickelson has taken aim at the PGA Tour for their supposed poor financial treatment of players, saying the tour's "obnoxious greed has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere". But he seemed to backtrack this week by saying his alliance with the Saudi Golf League has been a ruse to “leverage” the PGA Tour and this is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates".

If Mickelson truly is the smartest guy in the room, then you want safety in numbers. I don't think you go into this making enemies. As great a golfer as he is - his playing record speaks for itself, he is a phenomenal player - the way he is going about trying to bring some insight into how the PGA Tour works by going to another rival tour, I don't know. I am a little confused by it.

There are a lot of players out here on the PGA Tour who watched Phil growing up and loved the way he played. I am a huge fan. He plays like a little kid every day and I think that's what every player aspires to on the PGA Tour.

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Nick Dougherty and Rich Beem look ahead to the Genesis Invitational and discuss Rory McIlroy's reaction to the proposed Saudi Golf League

But when you start bringing up money and using phrases like "obnoxious greed" and you lose a bit in the locker room because there are people trying to make a living and trying to break into this sport that don't have the experience he has and are just trying to understand how to make it on the PGA Tour. When they hear all this from Phil I think they are thinking 'why is he saying all this?' And without educating them, Phil is separating himself from the PGA Tour.

Mickelson has made his money on the PGA Tour by playing his way out there and earning $97m, but that's not a guaranteed contract. The $100m on the Saudi Golf League is a guaranteed contract and we have no idea how many years that's going to go over, is it two, three, five? Is it per year?

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Rob Lee and Jamie Spence give their verdict on the Saudi government’s big financial investment into the Asian Tour and the possible threat it posts to the structure of the global game

If you look at the numbers alone you are not hearing the whole story. People at home don't like it because they see the $97m and then he has got much more for just being who he is. Phil Mickelson is a world-class player and to say he hasn't earned the right to go out there and have a contract with a company for say five years making $20m a year, I think that's probably not wholly unreasonable. He is trying to start something different if he is truly trying to play on this Saudi tour.

But once again his comments are almost backtracking by saying he is using it as leverage. I am not really buying too much into the money because I think if you look at how it is spread over time, that's not the right way to look at it.

I think it will take one player, either Phil Mickelson or Bryson DeChambeau, to sign on the dotted line, to come out and verbalise that they are part of something, because we already know where Rory McIlroy stands, where Jon Rahm stands, where Brooks Koepka stands. We know where a lot of players stand.

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Adam Scott understands why players in different phases of their careers have opposite views to the Saudi Golf League and would like to see the sport thrive outside of the US

Until we actually know what is going to happen here it's hard to speculate when it will go away. I don't think there's a timetable. It seemed to me like when the PGA Tour said a little while ago that if you go there you are not going to be able to play then everyone went 'oh, ok, wait a second'. But it has gained a lot of traction over the last three or four months with numbers and names being thrown out.

This is going to hang around for as long as it does until someone signs on the dotted line or says 'nope, it's over with'. This could drag out for a few more years or be done in six months. I'm really anxious to see how it plays out because it's a little annoying not having any answers just because you can't drag it out of anybody, they all signed non-disclosure agreements.

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